National Missing Children’s Day: How RPD handles missing kids in our city

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – May 25 is National Missing Children’s Day. It was declared by President Ronald Reagan in 1983.

He did it in memory of Etan Patz, a six year old boy who disappeared off a New York City street corner on May 25, 1979.

Etan’s killer was convicted, but the boy’s body was never found. Thursday, Rochester Police shared how they handle missing children cases.

Every time a child is reported missing, law enforcement has to report it to the FBIs National Crime Information Center. And according to the FBI, there were more than 350,000 entries last year alone.

“We encourage people to report their kids missing as quickly as possible when you know that they’re missing so then we can begin immediately trying to locate that kid and bring that kid home safely,” Rochester Police Lieutenant, Greg Bello, said.

Bello has been with the RPD for almost 16 years and has seen more than 100 missing children cases. He says they act quickly, as soon as the call comes in.

“There’s different methods that we use. Whether it be a K9 track sometimes. As they get older they have cell phones… pinging the phones or tracking phones,” Bello said.

In cases where an AMBER Alert is sent out, certain criteria must be met.

“It has to be a child less than 18 years old. And then it would have to be something like an abduction and that child’s physical safety is in grave danger or significant risk,”  Bello said.

To better keep your child safe, Bello recommends getting a Safe ID card for them, or find a tracking option that works for you.

“There’s also a variety of products out there that you can track your children. My daughter when she started to go to school, we got a watch for her that has GPS tracking on the watch,” Bello said.

National Missing Children’s Day is dedicated to encouraging parents, guardians, caregivers and others concerned with the well-being of children to make child safety a priority.